Janis Herbert is a freelance writer.
Leonardo da Vinci
Select Parent Grandparent Teacher Kid at heart. Age of the child I gave this to:. Hours of Play:. Tell Us Where You Are:. Preview Your Review. Thank you. Your review has been submitted and will appear here shortly. Extra Content. The book bridges art and science, revealing the important discoveries da Vinci made.
Leonardo da Vinci for Kids | Chicago Review Press
Through activities like determining the launch angle of a catapult, sketching birds and drawing a map, young readers combine a history, science and art lesson into one. His companion of many years — servant, pupil and the subject of many drawings — was the rascally Salai, who came to him at the age of At some point they probably became lovers. Later, in his mids, Leonardo adopted another young man, Francesco Melzi, whom he loved as a son.
Not surprisingly, his depictions of men are more erotic than those of women. His lack of desire for women is perhaps what makes his paintings of them so tender and attentive: by objectifying less and leaving their clothes on , he sees more.
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Some of his men look feminine, too. The angel in Virgin of the Rocks — intended to be Gabriel or Uriel — is often mistaken for a woman. A later drawing of an angel, either by Leonardo or by someone in his studio, showed a figure with breasts and an erect penis.
Androgyny appealed to him. The rise of Michelangelo odd years his junior may have been a factor in his preference for Milan: having spent much of his 30s and 40s there, he returned in his mids.
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It was a bigger city than Florence and was well stocked with intellectuals and scientists less so with artists. Later he moved to Rome and later still, leaving Italy for the first time, to France.
But it was Milan that encouraged the odd mixture of the practical and the fantastical that went into his inventions — his schemes for flying machines, giant crossbows, scythed chariots, needle grinders, screw jacks and so on. As Isaacson sees it, his inventions and ideas occupy an important place in the history of science and technology, anticipating the discoveries of Galileo and Newton. He contributed to medical knowledge too: by dissecting the body of a year-old man, he came up with the first description of arteriosclerosis as an outcome of the ageing process.
Even his wackiest ideas such as the plan to protect Venice with a team of underwater divers wearing breathing apparatus had potential, though it was several more centuries before scuba gear came along. Anatomy was his abiding specialism.
Or as the culmination of a lifelong drive to find connections between natural phenomena — to link the curve of waves to a curl of human hair.